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In a glittering black one-shouldered ball gown, soprano Roció Olalde strode across the stage of Puerto Peñasco’s municipal auditorium on December 30th while chilly blue lights reflected off the freshly painted walls around her. Olalde, who has performed in numerous international festivals and currently resides in Sweden, had returned to Peñasco this time accompanied by Tabasquen tenor Héctor Palacio and Russian pianist Inna Leytush for an unforgettable night for all in the audience. In 2013 Olalde had performed in Puerto Peñasco, yet at a solo gala, to an equally awestruck public.
The Winter Opera Gala, organized by Culture & Art Director Nina Mier and with support from the local administration and Sonoran Cultural Institute, was warmly received by all who nearly filled the 300 seat auditorium. The over the top evening featured two parts, the first filled with operatic favorites from Bellini, Puccini (La Boheme), and Verdi (La Traviata), along with an astounding rendition of Ave María and Leytush’s solo passionate performance of Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers. Following a brief intermission, Olalde, Palacio, and Leytush performed into the night, drawing the audience into romantic jousts through music from Tosca, and Lehar including a duet between Valencienne and Rosillón.
After receiving plaques from the local city administration, in recognition for their performance, Olalde, Palacio and Leytush performed an encore featuring ‘O Sole Mio’ to wrap up the night.
Along with Mier, Avril Noriega of the Casa de la Cultura explained proceeds from the gala night will be for projects at the local Casa de la Cultura, including adequate floors for young dancers and improved acoustics for students striving to be musicians.